Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Kentucky Derby Top 10

Since the weekend is long past and nothing much happened anyway I'll dispense with the weekend review for this week. I'll still remember to tally my losing bets for the weekend but those results will be combined with this weeks tally. Now onto the Derby Top 10.

1. War Pass (1)
2. Colonel John (2)
3. Tale Of Ekati (3)
4. Pyro (4)
5. Court Vision (5)
6. Into Mischief (6)
7. Kodiak Kowboy (7)
8. Country Star (8)
9. Z Fortune (9)
10. El Gato Malo (10)

This week I'm starting to essentially have a paradigm shift in the way I'm assessing the Derby contenders. When the list is first created it is based largely on 2yo form. That is really all we have to go off of. But I am beginning to suspect that much of the 2yo form we saw was not all that great and in many cases the 3yo's we see who pop up with big moves are actually superior in quality. Salute The Sarge, Wicked Style and Slew's Tiznow have all been dropped off the radar. None of them have worked yet this year and I'd rather go with hot horses who are less exposed. That trio could possibly work their way back on the list but they have to prove it with their 3yo form and the lack of works makes that an more unlikely scenario. War Pass remains at #1 despite the news of his bout of colic. The main reason is because there is not any other horse who actually deserves the #1 slot. I know it is still January but we have not seen an overabundance of impressive 3yo's, we've hardly seen any. A few that I'm looking forward to. Signature Move, an Eric Guillot horse is being bullishly touted by his connections. He is 3-2-0-1 in his career with an allowance win around two turns. They are already plotting where he will go after he "wins the Risen Star". Never mind that it will be his stakes debut his connections have no doubt at all that he'll be the winner. After seeing the way he moved away from his competition last time I'm not sure I disagree with them. There have been 4 impressive races at Gulfstream that have caught my eye. Elysium Fields was the latest, he got blinkers for the first time and easily confirmed the promise he had hinted at when losing his first three starts. Blinkers can often make a horse turn the corner as we clearly saw with Daaher. Another horse who actually beat Elysium Fields at Laurel and came back with a good GP race of his own was Visionaire. This Matz trainee has been quite impressive without ever being that fast but very often you'll see talented horses move their speed figures up significantly once they're pressed in stakes company. Jockey Ridge owns the co-highest Beyer Speed Figure at this stage for his win in a 6.5f race at Gulfstream. It was the classic step forward off a solid debut. I don't really like the way that he appeared so comfortable going right to the lead and out sprinting everyone else but he's bred to go longer so we'll keep an eye out. Lastly Kentucky Bear burst onto the scene with a very nice debut performance. He has a bit awkward in parts but he was much the best and won for fun. I'm not sure that any of his competition really showed up but it was probably the best career debut of any 3yo so far this year. All of these horses mentioned get added to the radar for this week while the top 10 remains unchanged.

On the radar: Monba, Signature Move, Elysium Fields, Visionaire, Kentucky Bear, Riley Tucker, Jockey Ridge Atoned, Etched, Fidelio, Alaazo, J Be K, Wise Answer, Turf War, Z Humor, Massive Drama, Cowboy Cal, Golden Yank

Dropped: Salute The Sarge, Wicked Style, Slew's Tiznow


peeptoad said...

I'm watching Signature Move too. Apparently Guillot wants to bring him back out west after he wins the Risen Star (ha ha), and run him the SA Derby. Definitely looks like one to watch at this stage, especially since the "big guns" are not yet at center stage. Also interested to see how Elysium Fields performs next out.

peeptoad said...

Also, I totally agree with your statement about 2yo form vs "new" 3yos with standout performances. It's one of the reasons why I don't have a top 10 list, but rather a group of horses I'm watching closely. Bordeaux Bandit and Numaany are two others who have performed well in route-MSWs. Also, there are a number of 3yos who have performed well in stakes, but have suspect pedigrees for 10F (i.e. Kodiak and El Gato); this might be one of those years where the Derby winner comes out of the woodwork around the month of March...